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How to kill Facebook’s annoying app sounds on your iPhone

Tired of the new bleeps already? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Tired of the new bleeps already? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

You may have noticed recently that the Facebook app makes sounds. Like a post? Chirp. Refresh the news feed? Swoosh. It’s like your iPhone got suddenly chatty and wants you to know that you’re tapping on the screen with every blip and bloop.

Surely you’d like to turn these things off. You could just mute your whole iPhone with the sound toggle button, but if you want to have other audio come through, like video, music, or (gasp) phone calls, you can dip into your Facebook app settings and soon experience the bliss of a blip-free Facebook browsing experience.

Here’s how.

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Siri lets you relive your audio misadventures

Want to see all the songs you've found via Siri or iTunes Radio? Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

Want to see all the songs you’ve found via Siri or iTunes Radio? Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac


iOS 8 includes Shazam — a magical technology that gives your iPhone the power to listen to a song and tell you what it is. In the car, at a movie theater, or even at a crowded bar, you can just ask Siri, “What song is playing?” or hold your home button for a few seconds, and your iPhone will use Shazam tech to tell you exactly what song is in your environment. You can also (surprise) buy the song you just recognized via a little button in the results screen.

But what if you want to buy it later? Or remember what song was playing at the bar last night when that cute girl gave you her number? You can easily do just that with a quick trip to iTunes on your iPhone.

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How to enable that sexy new iTunes Notification Center widget

Quicker than switching to iTunes, for sure. Screengrab: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Quicker than switching to iTunes, for sure. Screengrab: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

The advent of iTunes 12.1 gave us a sweet new widget that lets you control iTunes from the Notification Center’s Today section, without ever having to switch to the app itself. You can even favorite songs and buy currently playing tracks if you’re listening to iTunes Radio.

Unfortunately, this widget doesn’t seem to appear by default. To enable it, you need to drop into System Preferences. Here’s how to get it up and running.

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5 hot Raspberry Pi projects for Mac geeks

Photo: Lucasbosch/CC Wikimedia

The tiny Raspberry Pi computer can power many cool DIY projects. Photo: Lucasbosch/Wikimedia CC

The credit-card-size Raspberry Pi has taken the tech world by storm. Thousands of geeky kids and adults use the tiny, low-cost computer boards to learn about coding and create fun projects like motion detectors, birdhouses that tweet when birds are present, and mini weather stations.

You, too, can use this sweet little nerdy device to reproduce some of the cool things your Mac can do, without dedicating your entire computer to the project. Let’s take a look at what kinds of things might be interesting to an Apple fan with a new $35 Raspberry Pi 2.

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Hands on with OS X’s new Photos app

Photos for Mac is coming this spring. Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Photos for Mac is coming this spring. Photo: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s upcoming Photos app will give Mac users powerful new tools to manage, tweak and share their favorite images. While it won’t be released until later this year, we got a chance to play around with the beta version now available to developers, and we found it to be an easy-to-use and streamlined piece of software.

For a detailed and visual look at this new iOS-influenced app, check out the video below for a quick run through some of Photos’ hottest new features.

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Take the headache out of calendar syncing with these quick tips

Fantastical 2 uses iOS calendar settings to sync with Google. Screengrab: Flexibits

Fantastical 2 uses iOS calendar settings to sync with Google. Screengrab: Flexibits

As many of us use Google calendar to manage our daily lives, it’s an important thing to get this wondrous scheduling solution on our iPhones and iPads to better able to access it on the go.

Several third-party calendars, like the ever-useful and visually stunning Fantastical 2, use the iOS system for connecting to and synchronizing your calendars from Google to your mobile device.

Usually this works without a hitch, especially with newer iOS versions; you simply add an account and the calendar events you input on the web will show up on your iPhone, and vice versa.

When that doesn’t work, however, the settings you need to tweak can be a bit unintuitive. Here’s what they should look like for the best two-way Google to iOS sync.

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Trick out your iPhone with Notification Center widgets

Make the Notification Center your own with widgets. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Make the Notification Center your own with widgets. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Swipe down from the top of your iPhone (or iPad) screen and you’ll see the new iOS 8 Notification Center. It’s got two sections — Notifications on the right and Today on the left. Tap on the Today button and you’ll see all the new widgets arrayed in their default order.

You can add your calendar, weather, stocks and any one of hundreds of third-party app that has widget support.

The great thing is that you’re not stuck with the default order, or even the default apps — this part of Notification Center is totally customizable. Here’s how to make it your own.

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How to save money on Mac repairs with your credit card’s extended warranty

Use your credit card to solve your Apple problems. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Buy your Mac with a credit card and you could save big money on repairs. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Have you ever had an Apple product bite the dust only a few months after its warranty or AppleCare expired? Out-of-warranty repair costs can easily soar into the hundreds of dollars for Apple products, but if you purchased your Mac using a credit card that offers extended-warranty protection, you might be able to get that money back.

Many credit cards offer purchase-protection and extended warranties, which are usually included as a free benefit for qualifying purchases made using the card. I recently had a MacBook Air die. It was over three years old, so it was no longer covered by Apple’s One-Year Limited Warranty or AppleCare. Fortunately, I purchased it using an American Express credit card and, therefore, AMEX’s extended-warranty program gave me extra coverage.

Read on to learn how Apple repaired my broken MacBook Air and AMEX reimbursed the cost — saving me nearly $300.

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Delete your unwanted iPhone photos in one quick purge

Do you really need to carry all of these photos around with you? Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Do you really need to carry all of these photos around with you? Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

We all need to get rid of photos from our iPhones from time to time, and iOS 8 makes it pretty simple to select a single or group of photos and delete. Deleting a photo at a time is all well and good, as is tapping a bunch of them and then deleting. But what if you want to just seriously delete a whole ton of them at once?

There’s a better way to bulk delete photos from your iPhone (or iPad), and it takes a lot of the tapping out of the process. Here’s how to do it.

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How to get rid of the predictive text suggestions on your iPhone

With predictive text enabled. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

With predictive text enabled. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

iOS 8 brought with it a couple of keyboard changes — adding support for predictive text suggestions when you’re using the built-in iOS keyboard.

This is pretty great stuff, unless it bugs you to have three words or phrases at the top of your keyboard. If that’s you, then here’s a simple way to disable the “feature.”

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